The journey to self-love starts with acceptance.
Kickstarting my morning with Wear Lively in the comforts of my home gave me a motivating start to my day. That bubbly mood whenever I feel connected with myself, becomes a confidence booster and a game-changer for my mindset throughout the day. Doing this shoot was both empowering and uplifting, which was what I least expected.
Truth be told, I struggle a lot with self-image. While that doesn't really show off my demeanor, I do have constant monologues, self-anxiety and insecurities that I deal with everyday. Yes, it's normal to a certain point but for someone who strongly advocates self-love, I do feel like I fall short in that aspect.
So let's talk real and let's get down to the nitty gritty of my thoughts on self-love and self-confidence when it comes to body image.
Everything starts with the mind (a thought) and ends with the body (an action).
Body image is one the things that's on the forefront of our minds. It's in our society's nature that is built upon looking to figures for inspiration — whether it be talent, skill, appearance or lifestyle — to a point where it can get toxic; when striving to be as good as someone else or surpass someone else becomes a motivating factor to be doing what you are doing. No matter what we do, we are subtly affected by such circumstances as we continue to digest the world of social media and admire those at the top of the ladder. Issues of body image plague our society like a flame and we naturally let it take over our lives.
I would say that I'm your conservative type of girl, and I guess that stems from the culture I grew up in but also from fear of being judged by how you look and portray yourself. I recently had a conversation with my man about the issue, and talking to him always enlightens me on certain things. One of the things he mentioned was "Wear something that makes you feel good. How you carry yourself and how it makes you feel is all that matters. Like they say: look good, feel good." That being said, I couldn't agree more.
Shooting for this collaboration with Wear Lively gave me a boost of confidence and respect for myself that reminded me of how everything needs to stem internally. We're always caught up with the external praises, appreciation and fear of judgment that we fail to hear what our own voice is trying to tell us.
Empower others as you empower yourself.
There were a lot of doubts and second thoughts about sharing this with you because 1) I felt it was ridiculous, 2) I was hesitant to share my story. But finding the courage to voice out my story is something that I've always strived to do because our own stories have the potential to help others out who are in the same boat. That's something I've always believed in and will continue to do, even if it meant challenging my anxiety and fears.
Restrictions & Negativities That Disrupt Internal Balance
First, a confession: I admit that I have issues with my body image to a point that I would restrict and overwork myself on my diet and routine. For the longest time, I've put myself down for not having the ideal body that I wanted, placed restrictions with what I ate only to regress, and felt emotionally and mentally battered about the whole ordeal. Being vegan doesn't necessarily equate to being 100% healthy. Yes, I eat healthier than most and I would say I'm proud of that and the self-discipline that came along with it, but it still stemmed from a negative vantage point in terms of health at least. When I start to veer off from my diet — which is when I notice the tiny details like how the food is cooked, what it is cooked with, the ingredients used and so on— I would start to feel bad for eating food that I consider off of my "clean list" and mark it off on the "junk list".
I had my shortcomings and it would be a ride of guilt that I would try to placate by placing more restrictions on myself. The worse part about it is that: it disrupts my internal balance and it reflects on the outside. I would chastise myself if I didn't get it in a few hours of workout or didn't eat clean enough. It was something I was meticulous about and it began to take a toll on me. I never opened myself up to realize it until now.
These realizations weren't the Eureka! kind of moment. It was a building momentum where I had a difficult time accepting because 1) I didn't want to admit that I had issues, 2) I didn't want to face these so-called issues.
Don't get me wrong though, like everything else, the lifestyle that I'm living right now is a journey as well. I've been learning a lot of things, especially since I shifted to a plant-based diet, and I'm still on that phase where I'm feeling out what my body can or can't handle, what it needs, and how to listen to it. It's a huge ball of trial and error and despite everything, it's been a great experience thus far. The message that I'm trying to get across is more of how I feel mentally and emotionally about it in regards to achieving my ideal body.
The Journey To Self-Love
On this path to self-awareness, I realized, acceptance is the first part of healing in any aspect of what we go through. Whether may it be in love or life in general. I know this from picking myself up time and again through whatever curveballs life decides to throw at me. Getting down to the ultimate source of it, acknowledging your feelings and thoughts and accepting that you feel that way is always the first step.
I believe it all boils down to this: The journey to self-love starts with acceptance.
If there's one thing I learned from Deepak Chopra: "Everything starts with the mind (a thought) and ends with the body (an action)." (Think of it alternatively as: Your thoughts are powerful enough to create action.) This is where confidence stems from. Internally, and not externally.
Self-awareness and self-love is everything and it's one of the best gifts that you can ever give yourself, aside from knowing the kind of love and happiness you deserve.
Through this journey, you empower others as you empower yourself. When others see the light and beauty that shines within you, you inspire them to create the same kind of energy that starts with their inner self and travels toward others.
If you're someone who somehow relates to my story, I highly recommend Deepak Chopra's "Reinventing The Body, Resurrecting The Soul". It touches on the spiritual, mental, physical and emotional aspects of self-awareness backed up by research, scientific observations and stories of people. It's truly an enlightening summer read, and I have yet to go through the whole book. But so far, I've learned a lot in terms of how I perceive my body and how it connects to my soul.
Get a $10 discount when you purchase from Wear Lively and use the code: AMB-jamiecatt (Expires July 6, 2017)
This is not a sponsored post. All thoughts and the decision to share my personal story is entirely my own.